Grandey's Place, Herts.

Grandey’s Place, Warren Park, SG11 6FF, East Herts.


Last Friday, was that rare thing, a Carreducker works outing! We took the day to visit Grandey's Place in Hertfordshire to see Clive Beecham's vision for a Heritage Craft Centre now nearing completion.

Clive proudly showing James the larger units at Grandey's Place 

Clive is a retried chocolate manufacturer with a passion for vintage motor cars and craftsmanship and a proper patron, interested in helping craft businesses to get off the ground, to grow and to achieve excellence. 

Vintage chassis 
...showing its craft credentials

We first met Clive a couple of years ago at Cockpit Arts, when he was researching what his vision might look like in reality. He was impressed by Cockpit and we were delighted to share our experiences with him as makers; we also talked about the importance of organisations like the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and Heritage Craft Association, both of whom have advised him on shaping  Grandey's Place.


Well, since we met Clive has been very busy. A two-year search ended at the wonderful location we visited last week, in Much Hadham conveniently located about 18 miles north of London between the M25, A10, M11, and Stansted Airport. (If you're in north or north east London it's a 40 minute drive through the burbs and into beautiful rolling Hertfordshire countryside). 


 

Much as I'd love this converted into a camper van, I'm thinking Clive might already have himself
a Grandey's Place pop-up shop and showroom right under his nose, ready for the next
Concours d'Elegance  

Clive's centre of excellence is being completed to an extremely high spec. to reflect the quality of craftsmanship it will house and showcase. below are examples of the workmanship being undertaken in one of the units renovating a vehicle exterior. 

Different skills are brought together to build these car doors


And attention to detail is everywhere

The kitchen window view, a great spot to socialise, share ideas, catch up with neighbours and take a break
  
One of our favourite units with a bright mezzanine and large workshop below
Uninterrupted views of greenery and trees

Beautiful natural wood staircase, functional breezeblock walls and a cement floor

Ample parking which cleverly doesn't look or feel like a car park and countryside views

"Grandey's Place is purpose-designed and built to be a centre of craft excellence. Whether working in an endangered craft, as identified on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, or simply a craft or industry that both conserves and creates a product or service of excellence; Grandey’s Place aims to attract a mix of like-minded creative and heritage sustaining talents".

The teaching and lecture space with a fully equipped kitchen and screen


That's certainly true of the first intake of craftsmen. We met sculptor and QEST scholar Poppy Field - whose beautiful work I saw at the annual fundraising QEST dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum earlier this year - 

PF270919_0003.jpg
Everything is Now by Poppy Field
and caught up briefly with Mark Angelo-Gizzi, busy setting up his bespoke leather workshop and a familiar, friendly face from previous QEST events. 

Mark Angelo-Gizzi

There are four other QEST scholars taking up residency alongside Mark and Poppy - Wayne Hart, lettercarver, sculptor and glass engraver; Seth Kennedy, Antiquarian horologist and watch case maker; Grace Brennan, artist and scenic artist; and Tom Vowden, stained glass conservator; as well as harness maker Jane Rodwell and tailor Emma Brigitte Martin.

The larger units with showroom space, kitchen and bathroom facilities, up-and-over doors and ample light

Thank you to Clive for a fantastic tour and the double bubbly (a delicious lunch). 

Whilst we may not live near enough to become residents ourselves, we hope that you might know someone who would be interested - whether craftsmen for the smaller units or a bigger business with hand crafted products looking for an out-of-London workshop...I was thinking perhaps hand built bicycles like Bamboo Bicycle Club or Saffron Frameworks? 

If you've got any other suggestions or know someone, Clive's email is info@grandeysplace.co.uk 

Until next week, when we're back with more bespoke shoe news, happy shoemaking!


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